In the NFL offseason, we saw big names move from old teams to new teams. Plus, newly drafted rookies will be looking for the opportunity to shine with the teams that drafted them. Here are the new guys who should have the biggest impact on their new teams in the new season.
Kirk Cousins- Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings got to the NFC Championship game without long term stability at the QB position last year. I’m not saying that Case Keenum had a horrible year, but in order to break through the top tier teams in the NFC you need at least a slightly above-average QB leading your team. Kirk Cousins is not an elite NFL QB, but he showed he could get the job done with a lackluster supporting cast in Washington by making the playoffs in 2015-2016. In Minnesota, he has two fantastic receivers to throw to, a defense that only got stronger with the addition of Sheldon Richardson, and a solid O-line to protect him. All of these things should give Cousins what he needs to excel.
Roquan Smith- Chicago Bears
LB Roquan Smith out of Georgia, currently of the Chicago Bears, is what you call a football FREAK. Often considered one of the most physically gifted and smartest players available in this year’s past draft by insiders, Smith has the chance to slide into the Bears defense and immediately become a star. Fit him in next to already established Danny Trevathan, and the LB corps doesn’t really look all that bad. I mean, the defense last season was not the team's weakness at all. His fit into Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will highlight Smith’s strengths and the former Georgia linebacker may even find his way into the Pro Bowl conversation. Adding him to the team was a great move, as Smith could have an enormous impact on the defensive side of the football.
Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Darnold- New York Jets
The New York Jets have been looking for an answer at the game’s most important position for decades. Last season, they were stuck with a QB room consisting of 38-year old journeyman Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenburg. But by the luck of the football gods it seems that the Jets may have 2 starting caliber signal callers after a fantastic offseason. Bringing back McCown gives the Jets a safety net, Bridgewater serves as the lottery ticket if he gets back to his 2015 form, and a blue chip prospect in Sam Darnold whom the Jets coveted all offseason. This hasn’t happened for Gang Green in quite some time. The impact having capable quarterbacks is insurmountable for the rest of the team, as they become more motivated to work harder to get the offense back on the field. Although one of these guys (Bridgewater) probably won’t be on the Jets roster this coming year, both guys make a huge difference for the long term stability at the QB position.
Ndamukong Suh- LA Rams
There really wasn’t much wrong with the play of the Rams last season. They went from worst to first in offensive scoring, and the defense didn't play awfully. But, the Rams still decided to bolster their defense with a flurry of moves. The biggest of these moves was by far the acquisition of superstar DT Ndamukong Suh. Slotting him into a stacked D-line already headlined by Aaron Donald and Michael Brockers will work wonders for a defense in need of strong pass rushing playing in the NFC. With all these stars on your D-line, you have to think somebody is going to draw a mismatch. Suh's durability and physical dominance over any competition only makes this already scary defensive line scarier. He is going to need double teams, but unfortunately for the rest of the NFL, the other defensive lineman need double teams as well. Adding one of the premier players in the league to an area of strength should prove to be a very worthwhile move for Sean McVay's squad.
Derwin James- LA Chargers
Coming into the 2018 offseason, the Chargers were in desperate need of any high impact defenders to pair with the QB nightmare duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram that combined for 23 sacks last year. The areas of need for the Chargers defense included safety, linebacker, or defensive tackle. With the 17th pick in the draft, it was widely considered very unlikely that any impact player in those areas of need would be available at that spot. But, an early run on QBs meant that real talent was going to fall, and the Chargers benefited greatly from this. His impressive versatility and leadership should fit in seamlessly in this defense that will be tasked with stopping a re-energized Kansas City Chiefs team in their division. James has the makings of a star, maybe becoming the next great impact safety in this league like another safety the Chargers used to have.